How Soul Food Stymies African-Americans' Low-Salt Efforts


I know grandma made that delicious Sunday dinner with love. But with its conventional ingredients, you will have a harder time getting your blood pressure under control. Uncontrolled blood pressure increases the risk for deadly strokes and heart attacks. Previous studies have shown that the DASH diet works. It helps to lower blood pressure and with exercise can even lead to weight loss. In some cases, there may be no need to take blood pressure medication at all.

So maybe there is a solution after all. When I was a child, my mom decided to change the diet of the entire household. Sunday dinners no longer included table salt and we began using olive oil to sauté vegetables. Baked chicken quickly replaced fried chicken. Mom not only averted blood pressure medications, she completely changed the course of my life.

Could the DASH diet be incorporated into soul food recipes in order to create a healthier diet while helping patients to stick to the diet? I think there is a strong possibility. The reward can be great tasting food and longer life.

So the next time my patients -- and my family -- tell me that the bland DASH diet is too difficult to follow, I'm going to have a clever rebuttal and a great suggestion.

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